The curriculum at St Mary's is designed to give students a variety of experiences in diverse areas. There is a commitment to provide learning environments that prove challenging, engaging or enriching and which furnish a combination of content, skills and processes, practice, and exploratory opportunities. Within subject departments and within the school generally, a love of learning and enterprise are universally sought.

Within the curriculum there are areas of basic knowledge that need emphasis. There are also stepping stones to higher learning, higher order thinking and higher levels of appreciation. Students are guided along these pathways within the compulsory programme or in subjects of their choice, as they show readiness, aptitude or desire to pursue special interests.

In any curriculum it is important to provide rigour and intellectual stimulation in concrete and abstract realms, in the creative and in the technical. In addition, enjoyment and satisfaction through practical and kinaesthetic learning are essential for most students.

Physical development in both the broader sporting pursuits and the finer motor skills (needed in music, drama and other creative arts) is recognised as being an essential requirement, and while it is acknowledged that both latent talent and expert training contribute to the attainment of excellence in these areas, it is also recognised that some students pursue such activities simply for relaxation and personal satisfaction. Provision is made for both.

The curriculum in its widest sense is explored in a safe and supportive environment, where there is the opportunity for lively debate, quiet reflection, the acquisition of interpersonal skills, the development of a code of values and ethics, and the formation of personal opinions on a wide range of issues, local and global. We recognise that these will develop and change over the years. It is expected that the St Mary's environment will allow students to expand their knowledge, express their views and practise their beliefs with confidence, knowing that differences are respected in the community in which they move.

Mrs Cheryl Haak

Dean of Curriculum